Excerpted from Sacramento Bee
February 22, 2016

Assembly Bill 2249 prohibits contracts with companies that pursue trademarks at state parks

Follows ongoing controversy over ownership of names for some of Yosemite’s most famous sites

Assemblyman Ken Cooley: ‘I just find it shocking’

Assemblyman Ken Cooley is pursuing a bill that would ban concessionaires at state parks if they trademark iconic names.

Comparing the Yosemite renaming controversy to a punch in the gut, Assemblyman Ken Cooley on Monday announced a bill that would prohibit California from contracting with concessionaires who attempt to trademark names associated with a state park.

Assembly Bill 2249 would ban state park concessions contracts that provide ownership of any names and disqualify companies that pursue trademarks from bidding again in the future.

The historic Ahwahnee Hotel lit up as dusk falls over Yosemite Valley.John Walker The Fresno Bee

Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, said attempting to claim ownership of historic California names that precede their contract would demonstrate that a company is not a fit partner for the state.

“It’s our treasured heritage,” he said.

The bill follows a high-profile dispute between the National Park Service and the former concessionaire at Yosemite National Park over some of the park’s most famous sites.

The concessions company, formerly known as DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc., has filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for trademarks it placed on The Ahwahnee hotel, Curry Village, Badger Pass Ski Area and other beloved Yosemite attractions. DNC lost is contract with the park last fall and is asking the new concessionaire to pay $51 million for its intellectual property.

In response, the National Park Service announced last month that it would change the names – The Ahwahnee would become The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, for example, and Curry Village would become Half Dome Village – prompting a massive public outcry.

AB 2249 will not affect the Yosemite situation, which is a federal matter, but Cooley hopes the bill can send a message to Buffalo, New York-based Delaware North, DNC’s parent corporation, which he said has operated concessions at some California state parks in the past.

“I just find it shocking that somehow we had an agreement that evidently gave legal standing to any company, doesn’t matter who they are, to trademark these cultural sites,” he said.

Successes

  • Fiscal Prudence
  • My City Hall
  • A Model Government

Ken's conservative financial habits reflect the values of his home life with Sydney, his wife of 36 years, who has served for many years as bookkeeper for Cordova Neighborhood Church.

His habit of care with money was deepened and reinforced by his 18 Year private sector business career as In-House Counsel to State Farm Insurance, one of America’s most successful financial enterprises. The stewardship of Ken’s city with tax dollars makes it a rarity — 8 yrs of balanced budgets, every year a surplus, never yet dipped into our reserves, chosen as an All America City during his second term as Mayor...

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Government works best when it is connected to those it serves.

I believe that, and during my 1st term as Mayor in 2005, I did something to make that idea a part of my city’s history and identity.

While still under construction, I opened our future City Council Chamber to City residents for an event I called ”My City Hall”. City residents – young and old - had one evening to enter the shell of our under construction City Hall...

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International study into effective governance makes City of Rancho Cordova its first stop.

The People’s Republic of China has 10 study missions now underway around the globe to explore how a variety of modern democratic societies manage change through deliberative government institutions. Rancho Cordova was singled out as the first stop for the team that is conducting its survey here in the United States. The clip that folllows was aired on Sacramenmto area television as the local news crews profiled the team from China’s visit to Rancho Cordova City Hall.

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